Monday, July 15, 2019

Who do you turn to in your needs?

"Turn to the Lord in your needs, and you will live." (Responsorial Psalm 69).

Tuesday of the 15th week in Ordinary Time is the feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel. This feast started in England in 1251 with the apparition of the Blessed Virgin Mary to St Simon Stock, the Superior General of the Carmelite Order. It did not become a universal feast till 1726. Catholics still wear the blessed Scapula everywhere to honor Our Lady of Mount Carmel.

"Turn to the Lord in your needs, and you will live" exhorts our Scripture pick for today. If you are needy in any way, you will not fail to be struck by this word of God. Why does the Eternal Father counsel us to turn to Him in our needs in order to live? Two important reasons occur to me:

#1 "Man's extremity is God's opportunity. Man's prosperity is Satan's opportunity."

#2 Turning to God in prayer, worship, praise and thanksgiving is God's ordained means of receiving His favors and blessings.

Psalm 69 continues:

"This is my prayer to you, my prayer for your favor. In your great love, answer me, O God, with your help that never fails.

"As for me in my poverty and pain let your help, O God, lift me up. I will praise God’s name with a song; I will glorify him with thanksgiving.

"The poor when they see it will be glad and God-seeking hearts will revive; for the Lord listens to the needy and does not spurn his servants in their chains. (Responsorial Psalm: 69:14, 30-31,33-34).

I thank You Father that You drew me out when I was sunk in the abysmal swamp where there is no foothold. I cried for help through this Psalm and You saved me.

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Sunday, July 14, 2019

What to do when a new sheriff is in town.

"Then a new king, who knew nothing of Joseph, rose to power in Egypt." (Exodus 1: 8).

Monday of the 15th week in Ordinary Time is the feast of St Bonaventure, Franciscan, Bishop and Doctor of the Church. When you meet the new atheists who no longer believe in God because they have advanced degrees in science, you may ask them: Are you more learned or educated than St Bonaventure, St Thomas Aquinas, St Albert the Great or St Augustine. God continues to bless the Church with great scientists who have blessed the world. Our saint of today, Bonaventure is one of them.

What do you make of our key Scripture? "Then a new king, who knew nothing of Joseph, rose to power in Egypt." (Exodus 1: 8). When a new sheriff comes to town, a new king comes to the throne, what do the little folk do? God shakes up history through one man.

"Accordingly, they set supervisors over the Israelites to oppress them with forced labor. ...... Pharaoh then commanded all his people, “Throw into the Nile every boy that is born, but you may let all the girls live.” (Exodus 1: 11, 22).

The Israelites suffered "the whole cruel fate of slaves." This suffering prepared them to cooperate for the historic event of the Exodus.

God did not abandon Israel to the cruel power of their oppressors. The Exodus is seared in the memory of the Israelites.
"If the Lord had not been on our side,’ this is Israel’s song.
‘If the Lord had not been on our side when men rose up against us,
then would they have swallowed us alive when their anger was kindled." (Psalm 124: 1 - 3).

Remember: When a new sheriff comes to town, cry out to God for protection. God hears always the cry of the poor. The Lord our God Almighty is King. Not Pharaoh. Not Caesar.

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Saturday, July 13, 2019

Our neighbor is every person in need.

“Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” (Luke 10: 25).

Sunday of the 15th week in Ordinary Time. A scholar of the law tests Jesus with a tricky question. 'You are a scholar. Tell us what you think.' Our Master and Teacher asks the scholar.

 “You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your being, with all your strength, and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.” (Luke 10: 27). The scholar answered correctly. Note carefully what Jesus said to him: "Do this and you will live." St James amplifies in his letter:  "For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also."

Jesus ends what we call the Parable of the Good Samaritan by saying to the scholar of the law: Go and do as the Good Samaritan. Every person in need is our neighbor.

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Friday, July 12, 2019

Let us be your slaves.

"Let us be your slaves!" (Genesis 50: 18).

Saturday of the 14th week in Ordinary Time. Our key Scripture today is the voice of guilty conscience. The brothers of Joseph terrified of what Joseph might do to them after their father Jacob had died cried out: "Let us be your slaves!"

"But Joseph replied to them: “Do not fear. Can I take the place of God?  Even though you meant harm to me, God meant it for good, to achieve this present end, the survival of many people." (Genesis 50: 19 - 20).

Recall the post Resurrection appearances of Jesus to His disciples who abandoned Him during His passion. Jesus called them "My brothers." And later, He would explain to them as Joseph did here the meaning of His gruesome passion and death:

“Why are you troubled? And why do questions arise in your hearts?.......
“These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you, that everything written about me in the law of Moses and in the prophets and psalms must be fulfilled.”........
“Thus it is written that the Messiah would suffer and rise from the dead on the third day and that repentance, for the forgiveness of sins, would be preached in his name to all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things." (Luke 24: 38 - 48).

St Paul gives us the full understanding of the radical Providence of God in Romans 8: 28 - 30:

"We know that all things work for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose. For those he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, so that he might be the firstborn among many brothers.  And those he predestined he also called; and those he called he also justified; and those he justified he also glorified."

Do not be afraid. I am Joseph your brother. (Cf Genesis 45: 4).

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Thursday, July 11, 2019

What does it mean that God is a Father who keeps His promises?

"Israel said to Joseph, “At last I can die, now that I have seen for myself that you are still alive.” (Genesis 46: 30).

Friday of the 14th week in Ordinary Time. How do you grow in your faith? How do you grow in faith that God is a Father who keeps His promises?

As you read the word of God, note and mark the verses and passages that celebrate God's faithfulness to His promises. In our key Scripture for today, when Israel (Jacob) saw his son Joseph face to face, he celebrated God's faithfulness. God promised Simeon that he would not die until he sees Jesus. When Simeon carried Jesus in his arms, he said:
"Sovereign Lord, as you have promised, you may now dismiss your servant in peace." (Luke 2: 29).

As you start storing the truth of God's faithfulness in your mind, the power of the word of God starts affecting the way you think and act. "His words are spirit and life; they effect what they mean as does any divine word," says  Blessed Charles de Foucauld.

God kept all His promises to Abraham, Isaac, Israel, David, Mary, Simeon, etc. God is a Father who keeps His promises. Trust Him.

"The word of the Lord remains for ever: What is this word?
It is the Good News that has been brought to you." (1 Peter 1: 25).

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

You planned evil against me. God worked it around for the good of many.

“I am your brother Joseph, whom you sold into Egypt.  But now do not be distressed, and do not be angry with yourselves for having sold me here. It was really for the sake of saving lives that God sent me here ahead of you." (Genesis 45: 4 - 5).

Thursday of the 14th week in Ordinary Time is the feast of St Benedict, Abbot (480 - 547). Educated in Rome, St Benedict chose solitary life. Then he organized a group of men into monastic life. He founded monasteries in Europe. He is pivotal in the development of European Christian culture. No wonder he is the patron saint of Europe.

Our key Scripture today from Genesis 44/45 is important in understanding the doctrine of Divine Providence. Divine Providence is one of the sweetest revelations in Sacred Scripture. This is how the Church states the doctrine:

"Divine providence consists of the dispositions by which God guides all his creatures with wisdom and love to their ultimate end.

"Christ invites us to filial trust in the providence of our heavenly Father (cf.Mt 6:26-34), and St. Peter the apostle repeats: "Cast all your anxieties on him, for he cares about you" (I Pt 5:7; cf. Ps55:23). [CCC 321 & 322]

Joseph, the Prince of Egypt who is one of the most recognizable types of Jesus in the Scriptures says to his brothers who sold him into slavery: God permitted you to sell me into slavery in order to save lives and further His purposes in world history. God is doing similar things today. Nobody can thwart the will of God. Do not be afraid.

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Tuesday, July 09, 2019

When life is protected, the Kingdom of God is at hand.

"Go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. As you go, make this proclamation: ‘The kingdom of heaven is at hand." (Matthew 10: 6 - 7).

Wednesday of the 14th week in Ordinary Time. Jesus had a magnificent obsession with the Kingdom of God. Jesus wants you and me to develop such an obsession. Various opposing but not contradictory statements describe the Kingdom:

#1 It is here and now and there and then.
#2 The Kingdom is immanent and transcendent.
#3 It is visible and invisible.

One thing that is absolutely clear and certain is that everyone is expected to be involved in bringing about the dawn of the Kingdom. How?

"When the hungry are fed, the kingdom of God is at hand.
When the cry of the poor is heard, the kingdom of God is at hand.
When life is protected, the kingdom of God is at hand.
When the sick is healed, the kingdom of God is at hand.
When truth is told, the kingdom of God is at hand.
When immigrants are defended, the kingdom of God is at hand.
When offenses are forgiven, kingdom of God is at hand." (Inspired from LIVING FAITH).

Every single thought, every single word and every action either contributes to the coming of the Kingdom of God or the delay of it. The Kingdom of God comes through your thought, word and deed.

"The kingdom of God is close at hand: repent and believe the Good News." (Mark 1: 15).

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Monday, July 08, 2019

Look at the harvest! Where are the workers?

“The harvest is abundant but the laborers are few; so ask the master of the harvest to send out laborers for his harvest.” (Matthew 9: 37 - 38).

Tuesday of the 14th week in Ordinary Time. The Vineyard of the Lord is one place where there is no unemployment. Jesus said to the man searching for work at 4 pm: "You too, go to my Vineyard and you will find work."

The world has never been in such a dire need of the message of salvation as at the present moment. We see despair everywhere like the crowd in today's Gospel. Jesus says: "The truth will make you free." Where is the messenger to proclaim the truth that gives freedom and victory from hopelessness that we see everywhere?

"You too, go to my Vineyard and work and I will pay you a fair wage." At the end of the work day, Jesus paid the man who worked only for one hour the same as everyone.

Is the Lord calling you to join His workforce? What are you waiting for? What are your excuses?
"You too, go to my Vineyard. I will pay you a fair wage."

"May the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ enlighten the eyes of our mind, so that we can see what hope his call holds for us." (Ephesians 1: 17, 18).

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Sunday, July 07, 2019

If God will be with me and protect me in this journey, He will be my God.

"In you and your descendants all the families of the earth will find blessing.  I am with you and will protect you wherever you go, and bring you back to this land. I will never leave you until I have done what I promised you." (Genesis 28: 14 - 15).

Monday of the 14th week in Ordinary Time. Our Daily Bible Verse is from Genesis 28. God chose Jacob instead of Esau to carry forward the Covenant and promises made to Abraham. We shall see that Jacob with developed commercial instincts is a worthy heir of Abraham. Listen to his answer to God:

“If God will be with me and protect me on this journey I am making and give me food to eat and clothes to wear,  and I come back safely to my father’s house, the Lord will be my God. This stone that I have set up as a sacred pillar will be the house of God. Of everything you give me, I will return a tenth part to you without fail.” (Genesis 28: 20 - 22).

How will God respond to this counter offer?

Our God is a Father who keeps His promises. Nothing is too marvelous for Him to do for those who love Him. God Never Fails.

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Saturday, July 06, 2019

I shall find my comfort in Jerusalem.

"In Jerusalem you shall find your comfort." (Isaiah 66: 13).

Sunday of the 14th week in Ordinary Time. The word to live by comes from Isaiah 66: 10 - 14).

The Lord God promises peace and prosperity and overflowing good fortune to Jerusalem after her period of chastisement. Jerusalem here is a type of the Church. We are urged to find our comfort in the Church and much more:
"Rejoice with her in her joy,
all you who mourn over her—
So that you may nurse and be satisfied from her consoling breast;
That you may drink with delight at her abundant breasts!" (Isaiah 66: 10 - 11).

What is this consoling breast, this abundant breast? Just think of the Church for a moment. What does the Church offer to the world? The Church offers to the world:

#1. The word of God.
#2. The 7 Sacraments.
#3. Light and wisdom through her authoritative teachings.

Everybody without exception is invited to "nurse and be satisfied from her consoling breast;
and drink with delight at her abundant breasts!"

"Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed the man who seeks refuge in him." (Psalm 33: 9).

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Friday, July 05, 2019

The Choice and the Call of God is a mystery.

“Although the voice is Jacob’s, the hands are Esau’s.” (Genesis 27: 22).

Saturday of the 13th week in Ordinary Time is the feast of St Maria Goretti (1890 - 1902), Virgin and Martyr. Maria died at the age of 12 defending her chastity. She witnessed to the power of Jesus Christ working in the little Ones. In her liturgy, the Church teaches us that God is the source of innocence and lover of chastity.

Our key Scripture is from Genesis 27: 1 - 29). We explore the mystery of the Call, the Choice and the Anointing. Why does God call Jacob instead of Esau, David instead of one of his brothers, Judas instead of Benjamin, Israel instead of Egypt? This is a great mystery.

"For the Lord has chosen Jacob for himself, Israel as his treasured possession." (Psalm 135: 4).

God’s choice comes with blessings:

"May God give to you of the dew of the heavens and of the fertility of the earth abundance of grain and wine." (Genesis 27: 28).

Through the great mystery and gift of Baptism, we are all called, chosen and anointed as priest, prince and prophet.

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Thursday, July 04, 2019

I desire mercy and not sacrifice.

 “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?” (Matthew 9: 11).

Friday of the 13th week in Ordinary Time is the First Friday of July and the feast of St Anthony Mary Zaccaria (1502 to 1539), Priest.

The Pharisees could not hide their disdain of Jesus for mingling with sinners and tax collectors. Jesus taught that the Kingdom of God will be like the net of a fisherman collecting both good and bad fish. Do you find this image of the Church disgusting? What type of Church do you secretly desire in your heart?

“Those who are well do not need a physician, but the sick do.  Go and learn the meaning of the words, ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice.’ I did not come to call the righteous but sinners.” (Matthew 9: 12 - 13).

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Honor the Sacred Heart of Jesus this Friday, July 5th.

July 5, 2018 First Friday in July 2019.

The 12 Promises of the Sacred Heart of Jesus:  Jesus promised 12 special favors to all those who will honor His Sacred Heart especially on the First Friday of every month.  In the 7th month of the year 2019, we look at Promise #7.

#7.  "Tepid souls shall become fervent."

What is tepid?  Tepid is defined as lukewarm, slightly warm, unenthusiastic, apathetic, half-hearted.
Listen to what Jesus says about such persons:
"Because you are lukewarm--neither hot nor cold--I am about to spit you out of my mouth."  (Revelation 3: 16).

Are you lukewarm with regards to Jesus, to spiritual things? Regain your fire through devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Father Richard Morrow of the Cathedral of Christ the King died a couple of weeks ago at the age of 90. For most of his 62 years as a priest, he was devoted to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and honored the Sacred Heart every First Friday.

Honor the Sacred Heart of Jesus this Friday by attending Holy Mass.

For the 12 Promises of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, click the link below:

http://sfjweb.com/?q=content/sacred-heart-12-promises

Seekfirstcommunity.com

Wednesday, July 03, 2019

God put Abraham to test.

"God put Abraham to the test and said to him: Abraham! “Here I am!” he replied.  Then God said: Take your son Isaac, your only one, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah. There offer him up as a burnt offering on one of the heights that I will point out to you." (Genesis 22: 1 - 2).

Thursday of the 13th week in Ordinary Time is the Independence Anniversary of the United States of America.

As God guides creation in wisdom and goodness towards the fulfillment of its destiny in Christ Jesus, so is the Lord guiding America towards the fulfillment of its destiny. Therefore we pray:
"Father of the family of man, open our hearts to greater love of your Son. Let national boundaries not set limits to our concern. Ward off the pride that comes with worldly wealth and power. Give us the courage to open ourselves in love to the service of all Your people. Grant this through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son." (Collect Independence Day Mass."

God put Abraham to test to sacrifice Isaac, his only son. Consider if God asks you to sacrifice your health, family, finances, job, possessions, country. How would you respond? This is how God responded to Abraham's obedience:

“I swear by my very self—oracle of the Lord—that because you acted as you did in not withholding from me your son, your only one,  I will bless you and make your descendants as countless as the stars of the sky and the sands of the seashore; your descendants will take possession of the gates of their enemies, and in your descendants all the nations of the earth will find blessing, because you obeyed my command.” (Genesis 22: 16 - 18).

Faith and obedience are always rewarded in the Bible.

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Tuesday, July 02, 2019

To believe and trust is human.

"DO not be unbelieving, but believe.” (John 20: 27).

Wednesday of the 13th week in Ordinary Time is the feast of St Thomas the Apostle. Remember Thomas, the one who is nicknamed the Doubter? "I will not believe until I see. Until I touch." His feast day gives us the opportunity to reflect on why his unbelief was sharply rebuked by Jesus:
"STOP doubting and believe.” (John 20: 27 NIV).

Trust and belief comes naturally to most of us and we exercise this human trait continually every day.
We trust that our doctor knows what he is doing. We trust the pharmacist that the medication is not poison. We trust that the traffic light is programmed correctly. Husband and wife demonstrate trust of each other several times a day.

God created us to be trusting. Society can not function without the exercise of trust. But trust relies on one critical and often unspoken factor: Credible Witness. Thomas the Doubter was rebuked by Jesus because he doubted the credible witnesses (11 Apostles, Mary Magdalene, etc) who told him with certainty that Christ Jesus had risen and appeared to them.

I have never seen Jesus in the flesh. But I see and touch His Church every day. I believe because I believe in the 2000 years unbroken witness of the Church. Anywhere I am in this world, the Church is there for me to see and touch.

If you are one of those waiting for the mountain to come to you before you believe, Jesus says to you NOW: "Stop doubting and believe.”

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Monday, July 01, 2019

How to overcome acute fears.

“Lord, save us! We are perishing!” He said to them, “Why are you terrified, O you of little faith?” Then he got up, rebuked the winds and the sea, and there was great calm." (Matthew 8: 25 - 26)

Tuesday of the 13th week in Ordinary Time. Our good news for today answers the question: how do we overcome acute fears?

Which of us has not experienced paralyzing fear in the area of health, family, finances, job, possessions, etc? In the Gospel of today, Jesus Christ puts His finger on the reason why fear masters our hearts: "O you of little faith?” Or No faith. The whole theme of the Sacred Scriptures is the story of how humble men and women came to trust in the word of God and grew to be giants and were able to overcome obstacles and nations through the power of faith.

The Bible asks the question:
"Who is it that overcomes the world?" (1 John 5: 5). And gives the answer:
"Only the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God." (ibid).

Now that we know this truth, we shall be greatly blessed if we pray thus: "Lord Jesus increase my little faith."

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Sunday, June 30, 2019

Why did God single out Abraham?

"I have singled him [Abraham] out that he may direct his children and his household in the future to keep the way of the Lord by doing what is right and just, so that the Lord may put into effect for Abraham the promises he made about him." (Genesis 18: 19).

Monday of the 13th week in Ordinary Time. In our key Scripture for today, the Lord declared that He has singled out Abraham for blessings. What type of blessings?

#1 Father of a multitude of nations.
#2 Our exemplar of faith.
#3 Our intercessor and teacher of Intercessory prayer.

Before God chose Abraham, His eyes combed the whole world looking for a man of faith. God found that rock in Abraham. He believed a promise too good to be true. God liked what He heard and saw in Abraham.

You too can learn from Abraham's faith. You too have the word of God and His promises. You too has the choice today to believe or not to believe the promises of God. What is your inclination?

The Responsorial Psalm for today is one the Church uses constantly throughout the liturgical year because Psalm 103 speaks of promises the Lord has fulfilled for each of us.

"Bless the LORD, O my soul; and all my being, bless his holy name.
Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits.

"He pardons all your iniquities, he heals all your ills.
He redeems your life from destruction, he crowns you with kindness and compassion.

"Merciful and gracious is the LORD,
 slow to anger and abounding in kindness.
He will not always chide, nor does he keep his wrath forever.

"Not according to our sins does he deal with us, nor does he requite us according to our crimes.
For as the heavens are high above the earth, so surpassing is his kindness toward those who fear him." (Psalm 103:1-2, 3-4, 8-9, 10-11).

Do you believe that the Lord is kind and merciful? Do you believe that God is faithful to His promises?

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Saturday, June 29, 2019

We have freedom now because Jesus made us free.

"For freedom Christ set us free; so stand firm and do not submit again to the yoke of slavery." (Galatians 5: 1).

Sunday of the 13th week in Ordinary Time. The word to live by today is from Galatians 5: 1. Here is an alternative translation:

"We have freedom now because Christ made us free. So stand strong. Do not change and go back into the slavery of the law." (International Children Bible)

How do we stand firm so that the dog does not go back to his vomit? It will be impossible for us to maintain our freedom as Christians without a solid plan for living our Christian faith day by day. That plan may consist of the following elements:

#1 Daily Prayer: Jesus calls Prayer a vital necessity.
#2. Word of God (God’s Manual).
#3.  Eucharist (Bread of life and Food for the Journey).
#4.  Penance and Examen (Medicine for the Journey).
#5.  Spiritual Reading (Our GPS: When you pray, you talk to God. When you read, God talks to you. St Ambrose, St Augustine, St Vincent de Paul).
#6.  Ministry (Sharing your gifts & making them more abundant).

Habit has power. The above 6 Daily Habits of Saints will help anyone retain the freedom that Jesus bestows on us.

"Live by the Spirit." (Galatians 5: 16).

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Friday, June 28, 2019

The Feast of the Pillars of the Church.

"Peter said to Jesus: You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.
And Jesus replied: You are Peter,
and upon this rock I will build my Church." (Matthew 16: 16, 18).

Saturday of the 12th week in Ordinary Time is the Solemnity of SS Peter and Paul. Yesterday, we celebrated the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Today we celebrate the holy feast of the principal Apostles of the Christian faith. The very faith that these Apostles transmitted to us is what we profess today. Who are Peter and Paul?

"SS Peter and Paul are the principal pillars of the Church founded by Christ. Peter was chosen by Christ to be his first Vicar on earth; he was endowed with the powers of the keys of the kingdom of heaven (Matthew 16: 13 - 19) and charged with the role of Shepherd of Christ's flock. (John 21: 15 - 17).
Paul was chosen to form part of the apostolic college by Christ himself on the road to Damascus (Acts 9: 1 - 16). Selected to bring Christ's name to all peoples (Acts 9; 15), he is the greatest missionary of all time." (Roman Missal).
This is the great feast we celebrate today.

"These men, conquering all human frailty, shed their blood and helped the Church to grow. By sharing the cup of the Lord's suffering, they became the friends of God." (Entrance Antiphon).

SS Peter and Paul pray for us.

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Thursday, June 27, 2019

The Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.

"For Christ, while we were still helpless, yet died at the appointed time for the ungodly." (Romans 5: 6).

Friday of the 12th week in Ordinary Time is the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Hosea characterizes the love of God for us thus: "I led them with cords of human kindness, with ties of love. To them I was like one who lifts a little child to the cheek, and I bent down to feed them." (Hosea 11: 4). Was he writing about the Heart of Jesus?

Do you know personally the love and mercy of Jesus? Have you experienced His forgiveness, healing, peace, answered prayers etc? What is the Sacred Heart of Jesus and why do we celebrate this feast? Here is what the Church says :

"Jesus knew and loved us each and all during his life, his agony and his Passion, and gave himself up for each one of us: "The Son of God. . . loved me and gave himself for me." He has loved us all with a human heart. For this reason, the Sacred Heart of Jesus, pierced by our sins and for our salvation, "is quite rightly considered the chief sign and symbol of that. . . love with which the divine Redeemer continually loves the eternal Father and all human beings" without exception." (CCC 478).

"Deep calls to deep." When you experience deep love, respond with deep love. Honor the Sacred Heart of Jesus with reverence and love.

“Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest." (Matthew 11: 28).

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, Friday the 28th.

Friday the 28th of June is the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.
Honor the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus with a Mass and adoration.

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Wednesday, June 26, 2019

The house built on rock did not collapse.

“Everyone who listens to these words of mine and acts on them will be like a wise man who built his house on rock.  The rain fell, the floods came, and the winds blew and buffeted the house. But it did not collapse."(Matthew 7: 24 - 25).

Why did the house not collapse? Because "it had been set solidly on rock." 

Thursday of the 12th week in Ordinary Time is the feast of St Cyril of Alexandria (376 - 444), Bishop and Doctor of the Church. St Cyril, Patriarch of Alexandria in Egypt is famous for his defense of the oneness of the Person of Jesus Christ. If Jesus is One Person, then the Blessed Virgin Mary is the Mother of God (Theotokos).

St Cyril listened to the words of Christ, meditated long on them.  During the crisis of faith that engulfed Christiandom in the middle of the 5th century, Cyril did not collapse from the virulent and battering attacks of heretics. His house "had been set solidly on rock."

Listen daily to the words of Christ and do what it tells you.

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Abraham believed the impossible and what happened?

"Do not fear, Abram! I am your shield; I will make your reward very great." (Genesis 15: 1).

Wednesday of the 12th week in Ordinary Time is the feast of St Josemaria Escriva, Priest (1902 - 1975), the Founder of Opus Dei. His memories are still fresh for some reading this. Josemaria is a man of deep faith like Abraham and experienced both the shield and great reward of God during his life on earth and now in heaven. A few words about him from the Roman Missal:

"St Josemaria Escriva, the founder of Opus Dei, opened a new path of holiness in the Catholic Church, teaching that people can become holy by performing their work and daily duties with a Christian spirit."

"He [God] took him[Abraham] outside and said: Look up at the sky and count the stars, if you can. Just so, he added, will your descendants be.  Abram put his faith in the Lord, who attributed it to him as an act of righteousness." (Genesis 15: 5 - 6).

Note what Abraham did to be declared righteous by God. He believes the humanly impossible promise of God. What did the Blessed Virgin Mary do when a similar but greater promise was communicated to her by the Angel Gabriel? "I am the Lord's handmaid. Let what you have promised be done to me." In both cases, God fulfilled His promises. As a young man in Spain before the Spanish civil war, Josemaria heard the call from God to start a radical ministry with a new teaching. He did not walk away from the challenges. Today the world is blessed by the ministry of Opus Dei working in many countries of the world.

Has God put any dreams in your heart? Do not be afraid.

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Monday, June 24, 2019

Do not be fooled by the Broadway.

“Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the road broad that leads to destruction, and those who enter through it are many." (Matthew 7: 13).

Tuesday of the 12th week in Ordinary Time. The Lord Jesus gives us a counsel that is counter intuitive but full of wisdom. In the first Reading from Genesis 13, Abraham's nephew chose the Jordan Plain that looked like "the Lord's own garden." Abraham chose the "narrow gate."

“Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the road broad that leads to destruction, and those who enter through it are many."

"Abram was very rich in livestock, silver, and gold." (Genesis 13: 2). Abraham was filled with faith and the Holy Spirit and the Spirit of God guided his investment decisions. The Responsorial Psalm paints the character of Abraham:

"Lord, who shall dwell on your holy mountain?
He who walks without fault;
he who acts with justice
and speaks the truth from his heart; he who does not slander with his tongue.

"He who does no wrong to his brother, who casts no slur on his neighbour, who holds the godless in disdain, but honours those who fear the Lord.

"He who keeps his pledge, come what may; who takes no interest on a loan and accepts no bribes against the innocent.
Such a man will stand firm for ever. (Psalm 15: 2 - 5).

A Rabbinic writing says that When God found Abraham, He said that He has found a rock to make the foundation of the world.

Let your faith show like Abraham and Mary's.

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Sunday, June 23, 2019

The Solemnity of the Birth of St John the Baptist.

“No. He will be called John.” (Luke 1: 60). And John the Baptist was called John as Elizabeth his mother insisted.

Monday of the 12th week in Ordinary Time is the Solemnity of the Birth of St John the Baptist. Only three birthdays are celebrated in the liturgical calendar of the Church: Jesus, Mary and John the Baptist. Who is John the Baptist?

"John the Baptist is "more than a prophet." In him, the Holy Spirit concludes his speaking through the prophets. John completes the cycle of prophets begun by Elijah. He proclaims the imminence of the consolation of Israel; he is the "voice" of the Consoler who is coming. As the Spirit of truth will also do, John "came to bear witness to the light." In John's sight, the Spirit thus brings to completion the careful search of the prophets and fulfills the longing of the angels. "He on whom you see the Spirit descend and remain, this is he who baptizes with the Holy Spirit. And I have seen and have borne witness that this is the Son of God. . . . Behold, the Lamb of God." (CCC 719).

The core ministry of St John the Baptist is Reconciliation: "Come back to Me." (Joel 2: 17; Jeremiah 3: 14, 3: 22, 4: 1; Hosea 11: 2).

"He came as a witness, as a witness to speak for the light,
preparing for the Lord a people fit for him." (John 1:7; Luke 1: 17).

Jesus gives John His greatest recognition of any human being:
"Amen, I say to you, among those born of women there has been none greater than John the Baptist; yet the least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he." (Matthew 11: 11).

St John the Baptist pray for us.

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

The Solemnity of Corpus Christi.

"Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me and I in him, says the Lord." (John 6: 57).

Sunday of the 12th week in Ordinary Time is the Solemnity of Corpus Christi, the Feast of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Jesus Christ.

The Eucharist is the source and summit of Christian life. (CCC 1324). The Eucharist is also the new Covenant ratified with the Blood of Jesus.  (Mark 14: 24).

"While they were eating, he took bread, said the blessing, broke it, and gave it to them, and said, “Take it; this is my body.”  Then he took a cup, gave thanks, and gave it to them, and they all drank from it.  He said to them, “This is my blood of the covenant, which will be shed for many."  (Mark 14: 22 - 24).

"Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me and I in him, says the Lord."  (John 6: 57).

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Friday, June 21, 2019

It is impossible to serve two masters.

“No one can serve two masters." (Matthew 6: 24).

Saturday of the 11th week in Ordinary. We celebrate today the feast of St Thomas More, Martyr. This principled man refused to serve two masters at the same time. Here is a short summary of his life.
"St Thomas More (1477 - 1535) was born in London and was Chancellor of King Henry VIII. As a family man, a public servant, and a writer, he displayed a rare combination of human warmth, Christian wisdom, and sense of humor." (Roman Missal).

From the CCC:
"We know that in everything God works for good for those who love him." The constant witness of the saints confirms this truth:

"St. Thomas More, shortly before his martyrdom, consoled his daughter: "Nothing can come but that that God wills. And I make me very sure that whatsoever that be, seem it never so bad in sight, it shall indeed be the best." (CCC 313).

The pagans are always tortured by these anxieties: "What are we to eat? What are we to drink? What are we to wear?" (Matthew 6: 31 - 32). Turn to God and trust in Him completely and let Him take care of everything you need.
"Seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be given you besides. Do not worry about tomorrow; tomorrow will take care of itself. Sufficient for a day is its own evil." (Matthew 6: 33 - 34).

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Thursday, June 20, 2019

Your heart will follow your treasure.

"For where your treasure is, there also will your heart be." (Matthew 6: 21).

Friday of the 11th week in Ordinary Time. Lord, why do you link our hearts with treasure? This is too close for comfort.

The teaching of Jesus today on treasure and the heart is good news. It is truth that can give you victory and freedom in your life:
“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and decay destroy, and thieves break in and steal.  But store up treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor decay destroys, nor thieves break in and steal." (Matthew 6: 19 - 20).

During the great Depression, some people who stored up their treasures in the stock market committed suicide when the stock market crashed. These guys are surely losers in this world. May God have mercy on them in the Kingdom of God.

"I sought the Lord, and he answered me, delivered me from all my fears." (Psalm 34: 5).

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Your Father knows what you need and when you need it.

"Your Father knows what you need before you ask him." (Matthew 6: 8).

Thursday of the 11th week in Ordinary Time. Today, the Lord teaches the disciples the Great Our Father or the Lord's Prayer. Our key Scripture is from what Jesus said before He taught the Lord's Prayer: "Your Father knows what you need before you ask him."

“You fathers—if your children ask for a fish, do you give them a snake instead?" (Luke 11: 11). Even in our deep selfishness, we know the difference between a fish and a snake.
"You shall know the truth and the truth will make you free." Do you know one truth that will make you free? "Your Father knows what you need before you ask him." It is the truth you understand and appropriate that will give you the victory and freedom you desire so desperately.

"Do you not yet understand? Do you not remember?" Jesus queried the disciples. Understand what Jesus is teaching us about the Father. The Father acknowledges everything He created but loves us tenderly as sons and daughters. He provides all living things with food. His plan for our life is peace and prosperity. The shortcut is: "Seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness and everything else will be given you besides." (Matthew 6: 33).

We are truly sons and daughters of God who deserves the best from God. (Romans 8: 15).

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

God loves a cheerful giver.

"God loves a cheerful giver." (2 Corinthians 9: 7).

Wednesday of the 11th week in Ordinary Time. Our daily bible verse is from 2 Corinthians 9: 7).
"God loves a cheerful giver." Why on earth would anyone not be joyful and cheerful in giving to God and His works? Only one reason occurs to me. Not meanness. Not stinginess. But crass IGNORANCE!

Ignorance of elementary facts are dangerous. God is the source of every blessing, every gift, everything. He is the source of the food on the table from the seed, the sowing, harvesting, cooking and serving the food. God is the first cause of everything. He is the cause of the inspiration and the power to act.

Today's word continues to teach:
"Moreover, God is able to make every grace abundant for you, so that in all things, always having all you need, you may have an abundance for every good work." (2 Corinthians 9: 8). Do you believe this? Faith is nothing more than hearing this word or reading this word of God now and believing it. I believe it with my whole heart. This is why the most joyful thing I do on every eve of the Lord's Day is writing that check for offering.

Giving to God and His Church does not only bring peace and joy to the heart but guarantees security. Taste and see that the Lord is faithful and merciful.

"Remember, the man who plants only a few seeds will not have much grain to gather. The man who plants many seeds will have much grain to gather." (2 Corinthians 9: 6 NLV).

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Monday, June 17, 2019

What do you do when life throws you a knock out punch?

"My soul, give praise to the Lord.
I will praise the Lord all my days,
make music to my God while I live." (Cf Psalm 146: 2).

Tuesday of the 11th week in Ordinary Time. What do you do when life throws you a knock out punch? David the man after God's heart is one who receives far more punches from life than anyone in the Bible. The trials did wonders to his character as the Bible predicts.

"Consider it all joy, my brothers, when you encounter various trials, for you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.  And let perseverance be perfect, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing." (James 1: 2 - 4).

And this one too:

"We even boast of our afflictions, knowing that affliction produces endurance,  and endurance, proven character, and proven character, hope,  and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out into our hearts through the holy Spirit that has been given to us." (Romans 5: 3 - 5).

David left us a winning formula for dealing with hard times. In one word, it is praise and thanksgiving. This is why we choose the Responsorial Psalm (Psalm 146)for our reflection today.

"He is happy who is helped by Jacob’s God, whose hope is in the Lord his God, who alone made heaven and earth, the seas and all they contain.

"It is he who keeps faith for ever, who is just to those who are oppressed.
It is he who gives bread to the hungry, the Lord, who sets prisoners free.

"It is the Lord who gives sight to the blind, who raises up those who are bowed down, the Lord, who protects the stranger and upholds the widow and orphan." (Psalm 146: 2, 5 - 9).

8 different mercies of God are listed in Psalm 146: 5 - 9. Relishing them is the way your faith grows.

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Sunday, June 16, 2019

Overcome evil by good.

"Offer no resistance to one who is evil." (Matthew 5: 39).

Monday of the 11th week in Ordinary Time. In the Gospel of today (Matthew 5: 38 - 42), we see Jesus transform the moral law and overlaid it with a higher code for the citizens of the Kingdom that He came to establish. How did Jesus do this? The main principles are in today's Gospel. But the practicum is in the first Reading for today (2 Corinthians 6: 1 - 10).

Before going to the first Reading, let us consider a few principles. The existence of the stubborn persistence of evil in the world is the major cause of unbelief today. When you tell people that Christ has destroyed evil, they are unbelieving because of the apparent dominance of evil everywhere. Jesus teaches that the Answer to Evil is the CROSS.
"Offer no resistance to one who is evil." (Matthew 5: 39). This Scripture verse offers us the CROSS through which we too can destroy evil. Remember "The blood of martyrs is the seed of Christianity."
Let us see the practicum from Paul's letter to the Corinthians:

"We prove we are servants of God by great fortitude in times of suffering: in times of hardship and distress; when we are flogged, or sent to prison, or mobbed; labouring, sleepless, starving. ((2 Corinthians 6: 4 - 5 & follows).

How did the early Christians overcome the most powerful empire ever designed by man? The early Christians conquered the super powerful Roman Empire through the Cross. They were crucified, thrown to wild beasts in amphitheaters all over the empire and experienced everything that Paul mentioned in the first Reading. They did not receive the grace of God in vain because God is a Promise-Maker and a Promise-Keeper.
For God says:

“In an acceptable time I heard you, and on the day of salvation I helped you.” (2 Corinthians 6: 2).

Those who persevere in this struggle are already saved.

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Saturday, June 15, 2019

The Blessed Trinity is a mystery.

"Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit;
the God who is, who was, and who is to come." (Cf Revelation 1: 8).

Sunday of the 11th week in Ordinary Time is Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity. God is Father, Son and Holy Spirit, so revealed our Lord Jesus Christ. So believes all who call themselves Christians and are baptized in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Amen.

How do we go about describing the God who is One in Three and at the same time the most perfect Unity. I would rather trust what the Church teaches:

"The Trinity is a mystery of faith in the strict sense, one of the "mysteries that are hidden in God, which can never be known unless they are revealed by God". To be sure, God has left traces of his Trinitarian being in his work of creation and in his Revelation throughout the Old Testament. But his inmost Being as Holy Trinity is a mystery that is inaccessible to reason alone or even to Israel's faith before the Incarnation of God's Son and the sending of the Holy Spirit." (CCC 237).

"Blest be God the Father,
and the Only Begotten Son of God,
and also the Holy Spirit,
for he has shown us his merciful love." (Entrance Antiphon).

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Friday, June 14, 2019

Become a new creation.

"So whoever is in Christ is a new creation: the old things have passed away; behold, new things have come." (2 Corinthians 5: 17).

Saturday of the 10th week in Ordinary Time. We can be "a new creation" or remain the old creature. But we can not be both. This is the word to live by for today.

Brethren, how do we become a new creation? What does the Scriptures say? Listen:
That old self corrupted by worldly and deceitful ideas must be discarded. Then you must allow the daily consumption of the word of God to reshape and renew your thoughts, words and actions. When this is accomplished, you will no longer conform to the sinful patterns of this world. Your desires will be transformed. Your friends will say: "What happened to you? You are different." You will smile and bear witness to the power of the name of Jesus. (Cf Romans 12: 2, Ephesians 4: 22 - 23. Etc)

It is all God's work. (Cf 2 Corinthians 5: 14 - 31).

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Thursday, June 13, 2019

We hold fragile genuine riches in clay vessels.

"But we hold this treasure in earthen vessels, that the surpassing power may be of God and not from us." (2 Corinthians 4: 7).

Friday of the 10th week in Ordinary Time. Treasure in earthen vessel? We are the vessels. What treasure are we holding? Much genuine treasures:

#1 The Holy Spirit
#2 The Eucharist
#3 The Gift of Reconciliation
#4 The word of God
#5 Faith

All these and many more give us extraordinary power to be used by God for ministry. Let us consider our weaknesses as earthen vessels:

#1 Physical
#2 Spiritual
#3 Mental
#4 Moral

No government, company or business can entrust its critical resources and assets to the baggage that we present to God. Yet what happens? The The Father embraces us "so that the surpassing power may be of God and not from us."

Consider some extraordinary people God used in our days:
#1 Mother St Teresa of Kolkata.
#2 St John Paul II.
Like the Blessed Virgin Mary, they said YES to God and the rest is history.

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Wednesday, June 12, 2019

I shall not be discouraged in the wonderful ministry God gave me through His mercy.

"Therefore, since we have this ministry through the mercy shown us, we are not discouraged." (2 Corinthians 4: 1).

Thursday of the 10th week of Ordinary Time is the feast of St Anthony of Padua, Priest and Doctor of the Church. St Anthony of Padua (1195 to 1231) was a Franciscan friar who was filled with the Holy Spirit and faith and was never discouraged by setbacks in the ministry the Lord entrusted him. His preaching ministry took him from North Africa to Italy and France. He is known as the Evangelical Doctor because he based all his teaching and preaching on the Gospel.

St Anthony is renowned also as a ready helper in difficult cases. Some years ago, Microsoft seized one of my important email addresses. I did everything to get it back but no success. Then I had the inspiration to pray to St Anthony of Padua and within a few hours got back the email address.

St Anthony believed that God in His mercy gave him a wonderful ministry of spreading His Good News to others and discouragement is not an option. Today's key Scripture inspires me to believe the same.

St Anthony of Padua pray for us.

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Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Not many of us should become teachers.

"Therefore, whoever breaks one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do so will be called least in the kingdom of heaven. But whoever obeys and teaches these commandments will be called greatest in the kingdom of heaven." (Matthew 5: 19).

Wednesday of the 10th week in Ordinary Time. Call the message from our Master and Teacher today "a double-edged sword." Teacher beware! You teach not only by what you say. Every action of yours is closely scrutinized. I have heard people talk about teachers and preachers in these terms: "He is real. He is not real."

How do you react with this kind of warning from St James?
"Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers, for you realize that we will be judged more strictly, for we all fall short in many respects. If anyone does not fall short in speech, he is a perfect man, able to bridle his whole body also." (James 3: 1 - 2).

Are you concerned or discouraged by the warnings? No need to.  We take consolation from the promise of the Spirit:
"Live by the Spirit and you will certainly not gratify the desire of the flesh......  In contrast, the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.Galatians 5: 16, 22-23).

We are not qualified to take credit for anything in our ministry. Our qualification comes from God,  who has indeed qualified us as ministers of a new covenant by giving us the Holy Spirit. (Cf 2 Corinthians 3: 4 - 6).

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Monday, June 10, 2019

This man encourages us to remain faithful to Jesus.

"When he [Barnabas] arrived and saw the grace of God, he rejoiced and encouraged them all to remain faithful to the Lord in firmness of heart,  for he was a good man, filled with the holy Spirit and faith." (Acts 11: 23 - 24).

Tuesday of the 10th week of Ordinary Time is the feast of St Barnabas the Apostle. Barnabas introduced St Paul to the other Apostle in Jerusalem and later did missionary work with Paul.

Barnabas' special gift of the Holy Spirit is encouraging the brethren. The gift of encouragement is sorely needed in the Church today. Without encouragement, many people will give up fruitful ministry at the first setback.

Who is the Barnabas in your life? Who are you encouraging to remain faithful to Jesus in firmness of heart? How do you encourage? You encourage as the Lord encourages you. (Cf 2 Corinthians 1: 3 - 4). You can encourage with words via text messages, emails, letters. You can pray for the servant of God regularly. You can offer financial help. Ask the Holy Spirit for guidance on how you can become an encourager of the brethren.

"I no longer call you slaves,
because a slave does not know what his master is doing.
But I have called you friends,
because I have told you
everything I have heard from my Father." (John 15: 15).

SeekFirstcommunity.com

Sunday, June 09, 2019

New Feast of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of the Church.

"The disciples devoted themselves with one accord to prayer with Mary, the mother of Jesus." (Cf Acts 1: 14).
 
Today is Monday of the 10th week in Ordinary Time. Today the Church celebrates the Memorial of Mary, Mother of the Church, a brand new feast "instituted by Pope Francis on February 11, 2018 — the 160th anniversary of the apparition of Mary at Lourdes."

“Behold, your son.... Behold, your mother.” (Cf John 19: 26 - 27).

The Blessed Virgin Mary is the only human being that witnessed all the mysteries of our salvation from Conception to Death of Jesus to the Birth of the Church on Pentecost Sunday. Is this an accident or mere coincidence?

O God, Father of mercies, Your Only Begotten Son, as he hung upon the Cross, chose the Blessed Virgin Mary, his Mother, to be our Mother also; grant with the help of the Blessed Virgin Mary that Your Church will grow to embrace all people. (Cf Collect of the feast).

"Happy are you, holy Virgin Mary, and most worthy of all praise,
for from you arose the sun of justice, Christ our God." (Gospel Acclamation).

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Saturday, June 08, 2019

Father send Your Spirit into our lives with the power of a mighty wind.

"They were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke of the marvels of God." (Acts 2: 4, 11).

Pentecost Sunday 2019. The Birthday 🎂 of the Church. Happy Birthday our dear Mother and Teacher!

"The mission of Christ and the Holy Spirit is brought to completion in the Church, which is the Body of Christ and the Temple of the Holy Spirit. This joint mission henceforth brings Christ's faithful to share in his communion with the Father in the Holy Spirit. The Spirit prepares men and goes out to them with his grace, in order to draw them to Christ. (CCC 737).

"Father of light, from whom every good gift comes, send your Spirit into our lives with the power of a mighty wind, and by the flame of your wisdom open the horizons of our minds. Loosen our tongues to sing praises your in words beyond the power of speech, for without your Spirit man could never raise his voice in words of peace or announce the truth that Jesus is Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever." (Pentecost Collect).

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Friday, June 07, 2019

The sweet Providence of Jesus provided for Paul in Rome.

"He [Paul] remained for two full years in his lodgings. He received all who came to him, and with complete assurance and without hindrance he proclaimed the kingdom of God and taught about the Lord Jesus Christ." (Acts 28: 30 - 31).

Saturday of the 7th week of Easter. The end of the Easter Season. Sunday is Solemnity of Pentecost. Paul has now arrived in Rome after a scary sea voyage. He will be tried by the Emperor. Our Scripture text today is the very last verses of the Acts of the Apostles. What strikes you in this Scripture? It is a happy ending for Paul and consolation for us.
Although Paul was under house arrest, he was allowed to remain in his own lodgings. He was free to receive whomever he wished.
"And with complete assurance and without hindrance he proclaimed the kingdom of God and taught about the Lord Jesus Christ."

What a happy set of circumstances! Is this situation accident, luck or just a happy break for Paul? It is the providence of Jesus that arranged these circumstances for Paul. Why? In order to encourage Paul and every disciple of Jesus that the Lord is faithful. He will always be with us in every situation.

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Thursday, June 06, 2019

Bless the Lord my soul.

"Bless the Lord, my soul; and do not forget all his gifts." (Psalm 103: 2).

Friday of the 7th week of Easter is also the First Friday of June. Our reflection today is taken from the Responsorial Psalm 103, verse 2. This Psalm is titled the Psalm of David and is in praise of divine goodness. David, the "man after God's heart" gives us the secret of enduring loving relationship with God: Thanksgiving and Praise.

David remembers every one of God's favors to him and frequently composes psalms to celebrate new favors. For example, he lists particular favors below:
"Who pardons all your sins, and heals all your ills,
Who redeems your life from the pit, and crowns you with mercy and compassion,
Who fills your days with good things, so your youth is renewed like the eagle’s." (Psalm 103: 3 - 5).

Sunday is Pentecost Sunday. We have the opportunity for a special renewal by the Holy Spirit. All we need is the desire and asking for it. David had a great boost of the Holy Spirit after he was anointed by the Prophet Samuel. When the Holy Spirit is established in us, remembering God's gifts will be automatic. The Holy Spirit will constantly remind us of these gifts.

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Honor Jesus in the First Friday of June 2019.

June 7th First Friday in June 2019.

The 12 Promises of the Sacred Heart of Jesus:  Jesus promised 12 special favors to all those who will honor His Sacred Heart especially on the First Friday of every month.  In the 6th month of the year 2019, we look at Promise #6.

#6.  "Sinners shall find in My Heart the source and infinite ocean of mercy."

June is the Month the Church honors the Sacred Heart of Jesus. 

"O Sacred Heart of Jesus, living and life-giving fountain of eternal life, infinite treasure of the Divinity, and glowing furnace of love, You are my sanctuary.  O adorable and glorious Savior, consume my heart with that burning fire that ever inflames Your Heart.
Pour down on my soul those graces which flow from Your Love.  Let my heart be one with, and in all things conformed to, Yours. May Your Will be the rule of both my desires and my actions. Amen."  (St Alphonsus Ligouri, Bishop and Doctor of the Church).

"Jesus has loved us all with a human heart. For this reason, the Sacred Heart of Jesus, pierced by our sins and for our salvation, "is quite rightly considered the chief sign and symbol of that. . . love with which the divine Redeemer continually loves the eternal Father and all human beings" without exception."  (CCC 478).

Honor the Sacred Heart of Jesus this Friday by attending Holy Mass.

For the 12 Promises of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, click the link below:

http://sfjweb.com/?q=content/sacred-heart-12-promises

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Wednesday, June 05, 2019

Where is your Jerusalem?

“Take courage. For just as you have borne witness to my cause in Jerusalem, so you must also bear witness in Rome.” (Acts 23: 11).

Thursday of the 7th week of Easter.
Paul was under voluntary house arrest when Jesus appeared to him at night and promoted him in his ministry. "I am happy with the work you have done in Jerusalem. I here and now promote you to go up to Rome."

Where is your Jerusalem? How do you account for your stewardship? Remember the commission? We are to bear witness to 4 things:

#1 The Death of Jesus.
#2 Testimony of Scripture to the suffering and death of Jesus: (Luke 24: 44 - 46).
#3 The Resurrection of Jesus.
#4 The power of the Name of Jesus.

Are you ready for the New Pentecost?

Eternal Father, prepare us for the gifts of the Holy Spirit. Let Your Spirit come upon us with the power to fill us with His gifts and make us always willing to embrace Your gracious will every moment of our lives. Amen.

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Tuesday, June 04, 2019

Lord, prepare us for spiritual warfare.

"Keep watch over yourselves and over the whole flock of which the holy Spirit has appointed you overseers, in which you tend the church of God that he acquired with his own blood." (Acts 20: 28).

Wednesday of the 7th week of Easter. The above Scripture fits the life and mission of St Boniface (680 - 754), the Apostle to Germany whose feast the Church celebrates today. Born in England and sent to evangelize Germany, he was consecrated to the truth as the first Bishop of Germany. Boniface was martyred by the natives. The people who martyred him did not know that the blood of martyrs is the seed of the Church. The German Church flourished to the benefit of Christianity.

What did Jesus mean when He prayed for us:  "Consecrate them in the truth. Your word is truth." He prayed that our minds will remember and understand the wonderful truth He came to teach us. Baptism of the Holy Spirit brings us the gifts and fruits of the Holy Spirit. It is also preparation for spiritual warfare. Do you not yet understand? Do you not remember that you too must suffer before you come to everlasting life?

But do not be afraid. Jesus our Captain and Leader has gone there before us and He tells us: "Have courage. I have overcome the world." St Boniface too overcame the world. He is honored all over the world on his feast day.

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Monday, June 03, 2019

T'is not from chance our comfort springs.

"The Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and remind you of all I have told you." (John 14: 26).

Tuesday of the 7th week of Easter. There are 7 gifts of the Holy Spirit. There are 12 fruits of the same awesome Spirit. When I became acquainted with the Holy Spirit and began to appreciate Him more and more, what I appreciated most is the subject of our Scripture reflection: The Holy Spirit helps me to understand the Scriptures that I have appropriated and secondly, the Holy Spirit reminds me of the good things God is doing for me. It is impossible to offer praises and thanks if you do not know what God is doing for you. I thank the Holy Spirit every morning for this wonderful gifts.

Consider for a moment what God is doing for you:

"The child of God can fear no ill,
His chosen, dread no foe;
We leave our fate with thee, and wait Thy bidding when to go.
‘Tis not from chance our comfort springs, Thou art our trust, O King of kings." (Liturgy of the Hours).

What does this mean? Not even a single comfort you enjoy in life comes from chance, luck or accident. Every good thing that comes to you is from God's gracious ordaining. We find exactly the same idea in 2 Corinthians 1: 3 where God is called "Father of mercies and God of ALL comforts."
Did you notice the word ALL. It means TODO, no exception. It is impossible for you to know all these without the ministry of the Holy Spirit.

On Sunday the 9th of June, as we celebrate the feast of Pentecost, each of us has the opportunity to be renewed with the indwelling of the Holy Spirit.

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Sunday, June 02, 2019

We have never even heard there is anything like the Holy Spirit.

“Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you became believers?” (Acts 19: 2).

Monday of the 7th week of Easter. Why did Paul ask the Christians of Ephesus this blunt and embarrassing question? Probably Paul noticed something from their questions, words and behavior that were dissonant with the experience of the Baptism of the Holy Spirit. Is this really the Blood of Christ? Asked a Eucharistic minister, a new convert to the Church.

How would you answer the question? “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you became believers?” Not this way: “We have never even heard that there is a Holy Spirit,” said the new Ephesian Christians. What difference does the Holy Spirit make in your life? Which of His gifts can you claim?

1. Wisdom
2.Understanding
3. Counsel
4. Fortitude
5. Knowledge
6. Piety
7. Fear of the Lord

Without the active indwelling of the Holy Spirit, it will be impossible to avoid serious sin and to live an effective Christian life. Was this what Paul observed in Ephesus?

Pope St John XXIII must have the Holy Spirit in mind when he advised: "Consult not your fears but your hopes and your dreams. Think not about your frustrations, but about your unfulfilled potential. Concern yourself not with what you tried and failed in, but what is still possible for you to do." (Pope St John XXIII)

Today is the feast of St Charles Lwanga and 14 companions who were martyred in 1886 and 1887 by King Mwanga of Uganda for resolutely refusing to participate in homosexual practices.

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Saturday, June 01, 2019

Why are you standing there looking at the sky?

“Men of Galilee, why are you standing there looking at the sky? This Jesus who has been taken up from you into heaven will return in the same way as you have seen him going into heaven.” (Acts 1: 11).

Sunday of the 7th week of Easter, the Solemnity of the Ascension of the Lord Jesus. Forty days after His Resurrection and at the end of His instructions on the Kingdom of God, it was time to depart for Heaven. His disciples were filled with joy as they returned to Jerusalem to await "the Promise of the Father", the Holy Spirit of whom Jesus talked a lot in His last discourse before His passion.

We do not have time to stand here or there looking at the sky. Now is the time to busy ourselves through prayer and study preparing for the the feast of the Holy Spirit which is next Sunday.

"Grant, we pray, almighty God,
that we, who believe that your Only Begotten Son, our Redeemer,
ascended this day to the heavens,
may in spirit dwell already in heavenly realms.
Who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever." Collect of the feast of Ascension).

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Friday, May 31, 2019

No Prayer, No Experience of God.

"Amen, amen, I say to you, whatever you ask the Father in my name he will give you.  Until now you have not asked anything in my name; ask and you will receive, so that your joy may be complete." (John 16: 23 - 24).

Saturday of the 6th week of Easter. Jesus tells us to approach the throne of grace and mercy of Abba Father and ask for whatever we need with boldness and expectant faith. If you never ask in prayer, you may never experience the pure joy of answered prayer.

"Ask and keep on asking and it will be given to you; seek and keep on seeking and you will find; knock and keep on knocking and the door will be opened to you." (Matthew 7: 7 AMP).

Jesus teaches that Prayer is a vital necessity because Prayer is the only thing that gives us the direct and irrefutable experience of God.
But to pray with the guarantee of receiving, you must pray like Jesus. You must pray as the Church has learned to pray. "According to Your will and not mine for I do not know what is the best for me."

When you pray and receive answer to your prayer, do you think it is a coincidence? Perhaps the first time. Or the first few times. The cause and effect of prayer is no accident. No prayer. No answer.

The Father wants you to experience the pure joy of answered prayer so that your joy will be complete.

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Thursday, May 30, 2019

Mary said YES to an incomprehensible mystery.

"Blessed are you who believed that what was spoken to you by the Lord would be fulfilled.” (Luke 1: 45).

Friday of the 6th week of Easter is the feast of the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary. "The Visitation is the meeting between Mary and her cousin Elizabeth, the mother of St John the Baptist. Mary's "Magnificat" is another testimony of her humility before God. Her readiness to serve Elizabeth is a good lesson on charity." (Roman Missal).

Mary said YES to an incomprehensible mystery. Like Abraham, she believed and hoped against hope. Like Abraham, Mary was richly rewarded for her faith...  “Most blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb," cried out Elizabeth under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit....."Behold, from now on will all ages call me blessed," Mary cried out with exuberance. (Luke 1: 48). Yes indeed. Billions of people call Mary blessed amongst women.

"Blessed is the Virgin Mary, who believed that the promise made her by the Lord would be fulfilled." (Luke 1: 45).

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Wednesday, May 29, 2019

He laughs best who laughs last.

"Amen, amen, I say to you, you will weep and mourn, while the world rejoices; you will grieve, but your grief will become joy." (John 16: 20).

Thursday of the 6th week of Easter. Many of us have probably heard this: "He who laughs last, laughs best." Jesus promises us the last laugh. This laugh will be filled with joy and will last forever. In the short time, our Savior and Redeemer is asking us to endure all the trials, deprivations and persecutions with the strength that comes from the Holy Spirit.

"I will not leave you orphans, says the Lord; I go, but I will come back to you, and your hearts will be full of joy." (Cf John 14: 18).

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Tuesday, May 28, 2019

When the Holy Spirit is Jesus..

"I shall ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate to be with you for ever." (John 14: 16).

Wednesday of the 6th week of Easter. The drums are sounding louder for the celebration of Pentecost. What do we expect?
#1. The Parakletos who in 1 John 2: 1 is the Lord Jesus Himself.

#2. In John 14: 16, the Holy Spirit is the Advocate, the Third Person of the Blessed Trinity whom the Father will give us to abide with us forever!

#3. In John 14: 26, He is the Advocate that the Father will send in the name of Jesus to teach us all that we need to know for our ministry and remind us everything Jesus has taught us.

#4. In John 15: 26, the Advocate the Spirit of truth whom the Father will send "in my name." He will bear witness to Jesus and enable us to bear witness to Jesus too.

All these promises are ours for the desire and the asking.

"I will bear witness to You in the world O Lord. I will spread the knowledge of Your name among my brothers and sisters." (Cf Psalm 17: 50; 21: 23).

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